Theophrastus, in his comparison of bad acts says ones committed out of desire are worse than those which are committed through anger. For he who is excited by anger seems to turn away from reason with a certain pain and unconscious contraction; but he who offends through desire, being overpowered by pleasure, seems to be in a manner more intemperate and less manly in his offences. Rightly then, he said that the offence which is committed with pleasure is more blamable than that which is committed with pain; and on the whole the one is more like a person who has been first wronged and through pain is compelled to be angry; but the other is moved by his own impulse to do wrong, being carried towards doing something by desire.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2.10
- Wow, “less manly”? A helpful reminder that Marcus’s world is not our, and his goals should not be our goals. There’s much to learn here, but keep it in the context of the misogynistic, slave owning society from which it comes.
- Theophrastus, by the way, was a leader of the Peripatetic school, a student and friend of Aristotle who wrote widely on a number of subjects and isn’t much studied. Today.
- According to the notes in the Hays translation, this sort of hierarchy of “bad acts” is at odds with stoic doctrine, which finds all wrongs equal. But that’s Marcus, going his own way.